Monday, January 31, 2011

My "Dear Samson" Letter

Dear Samson,

You have interrupted my very ambitious Bible reading (10 chapters a day!) because I'm reading your story and I have to stop and ponder... Why does God take so many chapters to tell your story?And why have sunday school teachers all over the world made you a popular story for the children???  I just can't believe that you deserve the space you were given in the Bible! Arrogant, bossy, disobedient, self-centered... usually in famous Bible stories, there is at least one redeeming quality of the hero in the story...

Let's see if we can find one for you.

I'm sure you had lovely hair... but physical beauty only goes so far.

You were actually a very bad riddle maker... Your riddle makes me think of the mad hatter's riddle: How is a raven like a writing desk? (My son found out that there really IS an answer to that riddle- "They both produce a few notes.")

But seriously, Samson,
"Out of the eater, something to eat,
Out of the strong something sweet."?

No one is ever going to guess the answer to that one unless they do "plow with your heifer". (And by the way, Samson, calling your wife a heifer doesn't give you too many points either.)

But that was the point right? You didn't want them to guess. You wanted 30 pairs of new clothes. And when you lost the bet, you weren't even man enough to pay it honorably. You go kill 30 philistines, steal their clothes, and pay off your debt.

And that is just the beginning of your story.

You burn up a bunch of wheat by tying a torch to 150 pair of foxes tails. The people get mad. they kill your wife and father in law.
You kill 1000 of them with a donkey jawbone.
You complain to God about being thirsty. He gives you water.

And then there was Delilah. (You don't pick your women too well, do you?)
We all know that story.
You finally tell her the secret of your strength. the philistines capture you, poke out your eyes, and send you to jail.

This is where I used to think you redeemed yourself. I thought that you repented of your attitude in jail, and you wanted to have a last chance to kill God's enemies, and make up for all of the stuff you did in your life. 

But no, I  read today that you just wanted to get revenge for your eyes.

Now that I'm old, Samson, and no longer in love with your muscles or your incredible strength (or your gorgeous hair), I can think of only one reason that your story is so prominent in the Bible.

God wants me to know that no matter how messed up people are, He can use anybody.

And I for one, am grateful for that lesson.



Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Best Sermons That Weren't Sermons: Part One

So, I'm sitting in church this evening, realizing that I have heard a lot of good sermons in my lifetime. I've been blessed to be part of three different churches with really great preachers that preached sermons that changed my life, but here's what I realized. I don't remember most of those sermons.

The sermons I remember didn't come from preachers. They came from songs, letters, books, children, and lots of other places. I thought I would write down the top ten life changing "Sermons" and what they taught me.

10. Okay, I actually only had nine.  So read on!

9. Billy Graham, not his sermons, his life. I'm amazed by this man's integrity and his commitment to never talk badly about a person.

8. The book "The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere. It's all about bitterness being an evil tool and forgiveness being the key to freedom. Even if you don't think you need it, read it. It will be good for you.

7. Joseph, the guy in the Bible. That man trusted God through lots of trials for many many years; almost being killed by his brothers, sold into slavery (being a slave for 10 years!), put in prison for something he didn't do, and then finally, success and a chance for revenge.  He chose forgiveness all because he realized that God used his trials for good.

6. Francine Rivers, author. Every single one of her books has taught me a lesson. If you love fiction and you haven't read any of her novels, you need to. It could change your life. I would suggest "Redeeming Love" or the "Lion Mark" series.

5. The song, "Live like you were dying" by Tim McGraw. Yes, I know it's way overdone and lots of people are tired of it, but we did a mime to it that spoke volumes to me personally. God gives you one life. Love it and love people. You'll be happy.

4. Scripture... lot's of scripture... 

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

He's with me wherever I go, whatever is happening. He is with me.

 John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world. 


3. The birth of a little black and white paint filly at my home. God doesn't just give us what we need to survive, he sometimes blesses us with stuff that we think we can have only in our dreams. When I was growing up, and totally in love with horses, I drew pictures of the same horse, a black and white paint with a blue eye (my favorite horse at the time had a blue eye) and white mane. When my mare was pregnant, I just kept thinking how cool it would be if the baby was a paint, and how incredibly cool it would be if it was black and white.... It was all that... plus the blue eye. 

God loves me.

2. Conversation with a five year old on the day my mother died.  My mom died on June 14th, 2002. I was watching 4 children (in addition to my three) the morning that I got the call. I was devastated. I went outside and started sobbing. Soon I was surrounded by all of the children. The one part of the conversation that I remember is that one of the children said, "Why are you crying? Isn't your mom in heaven?" I nodded affirmatively. "The child said, "But isn't that a good thing?"  That was the beginning of my healing.
Later my 5 year old, said "Mom, I know what grandma is doing in heaven. She is jumping around and riding a bike!".  My mom had been in a wheelchair due to horrible arthritis.  My Annie helped me realize that for Mom, heaven was a really good thing.

1. A letter I got from God. I know this sounds really strange, but it's true. I read an article once that if you were dealing with a huge hurt in your past, that you should write a letter to God. Then later, you should write a letter that you think is his true response. Without going into any detail about the "hurt", let me just tell you, God wrote me that letter. The things that were written were not things I had ever thought of before. It was one of the most healing experiences of my life. 

So, that's it. The 10 (okay 9) best "nonsermons" in my life.  Will you share one of yours?

Thanks for listening.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Two Resolutions in One

I decided recently that I would try to read the entire Bible in 4 months. The few people that I told thought I was crazy- that I would just be reading so quickly that I wouldn't be able to get anything out of it. They knew how I liked to really study a particular story line by line, find out who is related to who, and make all kinds of connections with other stories and timelines. All that is true, but my thought was that if I read more quickly, some of those connections would be more obvious to me. Also I am actually more of a sprinter than I am a "stayer", so the 4 month thing versus the year thing will probably work a little better for me.

So here is the deal. I am having a ball! It's a lot of reading (about 10 chapters a day), but the stuff that I'm finding out is awesome!

Did you know:

 That after God told Moses he wasn't going to be allowed to go into the Promised Land that Moses actually asked him to reconsider? (And God's response was "That's enough. I don't want to hear any more about it.")

Isaac married Rebekah three years after his mother Rachel died. the Bible says Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah. Why was Sarah's tent still up?

Abraham married a lady named Keturah and they had a bunch (I think 8!)  of kids! One website I looked at thought that Keturah might actually have been Hagar.... Interesting thought, but I don't think so...

Although! Just before Isaac met Rebekah, the Bible says that he was coming from Beer Lahai Roi. This is actually where Ishmael and Hagar were sent. We know that Ishmael and Isaac had some sort of relationship because they were together when it came time to bury their father... Interesting stuff, yes?

Joseph was a slave in Potiphar's house for about 10 years! And in prison for about 3years!

God got really irritated with the Israelites in the desert a number of times! Moses convinced him NOT to kill them at least three times.

When God was taking the Israelites through the last few months of their wilderness experience and they were starting his battles, he told them not to touch the land that he had given to Esau and his relatives, nor the land that was given to Lot.

I know that you know  that  spies came back from exploring the land and 10 of them said that they shouldn't go there because there were giants in the land. But did you know that after God told them that they had sinned and they would be wandering the desert for 40 years, the Israelites decided to go into the promised land anyway! They got beat up badly and had to retreat because God wasn't with them!

I'm wondering why every time there is a list of the 12 tribes of Israel, they aren't in the same order... Sometimes Rueben is first (he was the first born) Sometimes Judah is first (number 4 in line, but the one that ends up in the line of Jesus.) Sometimes Joseph and Ben are next and sometimes they are last, although Naphtali seems to be last most often... Any ideas? Curiouser and curiouser.

Anyway, I'm having a blast and so far, I am right on track for finishing by the end of April. I've also found out that if I go to my computer will read out loud to me while I do my wii fit plus exercises!  Two New Years resolutions in one!

Have a great day!



Monday, January 17, 2011


When I was young, my biggest fear was being kidnapped while taking out the garbage. Actually, it went beyond even that. I KNEW I was going to be kidnapped and that the kidnappers would only release me if I actually knew all the words to the song I was humming on the way to the garbage can. This was a problem because the only reason I hummed instead of singing was that I DIDN"T KNOW ALL THE WORDS!  Then I got to thinking, "Do other people only hum when they don't know the words? Or are others just tired  of the words of the song and decided to hum just for a change of pace?" This intense dilemma would continue until I was safely back in our brightly lit friendly kitchen. Phew!

Fortunately, I can now take out the garbage without the need to dialogue with that inner demon. Somewhere along the way, I learned that people hum for all different kinds of reasons and that most kidnappers will not free you whether or not you know the words to Elton John's "Butterflies are Free to Fly" song.

I'd love to say that all my fears have gone the way of the humming kidnappers, but they haven't. In fact, the fears I have now, make those kidnappers seem like  crumbs of bread compared to a feast.

Some would tell me not to voice those fears. That voicing them gives them life. I disagree. Certain fears stay in the shadows and flit about, ruining your life because you don't pay attention to them. You need to bring them out into the light so you can vanquish them into oblivion.

So here they are not necessarily in any particular order.

1. That I will end up being a bitter old woman who forgets all the scripture I've memorized over the years but remembers all of the swear words I learned in junior high school.

2. That those closest to me will not have a saving relationship with Jesus by the time they die.

3. That the words that I'm thinking about saying to a close family member or friend will produce a fight, or a disappointment, or some negative reaction, and that will affect relationship in a negative way (so I say nothing of any great consequence.)

4. I am terrified of jumping out of an airplane, or trusting a carabiner to stop me from falling off a cliff.
(I'm guessing it's safe to say I have a fear of heights, but I'm not afraid to stand at a window in a really tall building and I didn't have any problem going in a hot air balloon.)

5. Bees.

So, That's it. I'm not sure how to "vaquish them all". Any advice would be appreciated. :)


Monday, January 10, 2011

My Idea (finally!)

I've been teasing some of my friends about this new idea I have now for about a week . I figure it's about time that I let them in on what this idea is. And what better place to do it than here?

I am going to write personalized children adventure books! My 19 year old daughter (who is majoring in art education)  will illustrate them. We will be selling them for anywhere from $20.00 - 30.00 depending on the different options people choose.

If you are interested, there is a page on this blog titled "personalized Adventure stories for your children questionaire". Fill that out, send it to me, and I'll begin my adventure of writing your child's adventure!

Here is an exerpt from one of the books I've already completed. The personalized information is bolded in this paragraph so that you can see how individualized each story will be.

....The phone call had taken less than five minutes. Annie's mom had been as excited about the possibility of owning a zorse as Annie was. Now, here they were, sitting around the kitchen table waiting for the moment that Blue would arrive.
     Annie had been staring out the window for the last hour and a half. She would leave for a few minutes at a time and play her piano. That would usually calm her nerves, but today it didn't seem to be making much of a difference. She just couldn't stop worrying. If the man didn't like Junebug, she wouldn't be able to keep Blue. She worked for a few minutes on a song that she was writing.

"I don't know what  you're feeling inside.
I don't know where you are in life.
I don't know your reason why.
Just come to Christ
Come to Christ."

She sighed. The notes just didn't seem right. She just coudn't keep her attention on what she was doing. "Please God, please, let Junebug behave!" she said quietly. She soon went back to her post at the window. Finally, she saw the trailer coming  up the long driveway. She raced outside to greet the zorse and prayed again as she ran.....

So, That's it, in a nutshell. Annie's book ended up being about 15 pages long with eleven photos.

Even if you aren't interested in buying a book, let me know what you think of this idea, k?

Thanks! Have a great day!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yup. It's the New Year...

All Right. If I have to, I have to. Here are my goals for 2011

1. Remember to write 2011 on any checks I write. (Since I  hardly write any checks anymore, this should be fairly easy to keep.)

2. Come to grips with the fact that I am not the smartest person in the room most of the time. Okay, Hardly ever.   Okay, only when I'm alone in the room.

3. Remember to wash my face and hands, brush my teeth, flush the toilet, and make my bed... not necessarily in that order.

4. Start a business on Etsy selling duck tape purses, personalized children's stories, and crochet stuff and call it "Art4Missions". (Okay, you caught me. I'm already in the process of doing that.)  :)

Okay, That was exhausting.
How do people do that every year??

Have a great one!